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  • Writer's pictureElliot J Harper

The End is Near

“The end is near,” Moridin said. “The Wheel has groaned its final rotation, the clock has lost its spring, the serpent heaves its final gasps.”

Robert Jordan, The Gathering Storm

And so, 2023 is over. 

For those who know me well, you’ll appreciate that I’m quite glad to see the back of it. But that would probably be quite unfair. Up until October, writing-wise, the twelve months that make up the calendar of 2023 have gone very well for me. 

So, I’m going to focus on that positive.

First and foremost, New Gillion Street – yes, I’m mentioning this again, and I will be talking about it with increasing regularity as the 26th of January approaches – has gone from a bloated but interesting manuscript to a tight, lean, and crisp novel ready for literary consumption. 

And it’s been an invaluable experience. 

NGS (abbreviate the world, dammit!) has seen a developmental editor, proof-readers, beta-readers, publishers, and reviewers. And due to having so many eyeballs on the story, it has been pulled, pushed, prodded, and poked into something that I am very proud of. Isabelle, the director and mastermind behind Fly on the Wall Press, has taken a diamond in the rough (if I don’t mind saying so myself) and expertly moulded it into something readable… into… dare I say it… an actual book!

Participating in such an endeavour has helped my writing and, more importantly, my editing. This last year has opened my eyes to what is really needed to polish a novel, and I’ve already begun to put the screws to the other two books in the series, so I’m a far better writer for it!

So, yes, this is the year I became an author rather than a writer. And that will be my sole focus going forward. I’ve got some novels to work on and two that I plan to write, so I’ll be busy. Short story writing – which at one point was something I spent a great deal of time on – will sadly fall by the wayside. But I don’t want to waste precious time on shorter fiction when I’ve got bigger and better projects to play with. 

(As a side note to the above. To be an author, I need to make more effort putting myself out there. For better or for worse, we live in a world where the internet and its many social media apps are essential. This year, I need to start building a bigger, better brand online. And that starts with diversification. I don’t want to repeat the Twitter/X debacle again, where I left all my eggs in Elon Musk’s awful, awful basket. So, expect more from me online, and in video form as I completely unleash myself on the world. I want to be a successful author, and that’s how you do it. I’ve procrastinated long enough.)

Now, on to the other source of positivity from 2023.

This was also the year where I actually made some money from writing! 

Now, to any writers out there, this will come as quite a shock. Every scribbler worth their salt will know that this strange, beautiful pastime of creative writing usually eats the pennies rather than put them in our pockets. Alas, that is the plight of the plucky creative, bent over a desk, on their laptop, pouring heart and soul into a medium that sometimes is given away for free, simply for the love of it…

But in 2023, I was lucky enough to lend my growing skills to Advantage 80/20, a marketing concept that promotes regular contact with a business’s database to strengthen relationships. In layman’s terms, I occasionally ghost-write blog campaigns for businesses. 

It’s something that I’d never heard of before, and it turns out it’s quite interesting. The clients are very driven people, and it’s fascinating to hear about their interests and motivations. I’ve been able to parley some of that enthusiasm into my own work (this blog, for a start, and my future plans for online marketing). But, more than anything, it’s just great to finally be able to use the skills I’ve honed over a seven-year period, and I’d like to think I’m pretty good at it. 

So, there you go. 2023, which had more than its fair share of downs, was actually a very good year for me professionally, and I hope that in 2024, I will continue to grow and improve. 

A couple of last things that I’ve already mentioned in a previous blog. Tickets for my book launch event for New Gillion Street on 31st January at Truman Books are available. If you live in the West Yorkshire area, or even if you don’t mind a bit of travel, come and listen to me talk about the book, read a chapter, and answer any questions you might have. I’ll also sign some books (which will be on sale), although I will need to improve my handwriting because calling it illegible may be an understatement (thank the gods for keyboards!)

And if you can’t make the event, please consider pre-ordering the book. By doing so, you’ll contribute to the print run of NGS, which, in turn, helps Fly on the Wall Press because it gives them precious capital to pay for such an expensive process. The indies don’t have vast quantities of cash like the Big 4 publishers. They need a leg-up, just like we all do in such challenging times, so keep that in mind if you think you’re going to buy my book anyway when it’s released in January.

Thanks for reading. And I hope you had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to come.

Elliot J Harper

Author of the soon-to-be-released New Gillion Street by Fly on the Wall Press.


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